Heart surgery for ex-UH safety postponed, his friends say
Doctors yesterday post-poned heart surgery for former University of Hawai'i football player Nate Jackson, saying that they needed to conduct more health tests, his friends said yesterday.
It was the second time Jackson's heart-valve replacement surgery has been postponed since he was admitted to The Queen's Medical Center on Oct. 24 after suffering complications from a viral infection. No date has been scheduled for Jackson's surgery.
"I know he was supposed to have surgery (yesterday)," said friend Toni Floerke-Politsch, who has organized numerous fund-raisers for Jackson. "They postponed it again. They were hoping to have the surgery last week, but he wasn't strong enough."
Another friend, Susan Kekai, said doctors wanted to ensure that Jackson had no lingering infections before starting surgery. In the meantime, Jackson would be given more time to recuperate and gather strength, Kekai said.
Jackson, a 1998 Wai-'anae High graduate, was a four-year starter at free safety for UH before completing his football eligibility last December. He competed in the Tennessee Titans' training camp before leaving to tend to family matters. Jackson also is a senior outfielder for the UH baseball team.
During the ordeal, Jackson, who had a listed playing weight of 163 pounds, has lost 30 pounds, Floerke-Politsch said. Still, Jackson's spirits remain high, and he is able to walk with assistance and talk with his family and friends, she said.
"Both his mom and his girlfriend said Nate is rearing to get out of the hospital," Floerke-Politsch said. "You know he's feeling better. He's starting to come around. I know he'll get through this."
More than $12,000 has been donated to the "Friends of Nate Jackson Fund" since it was opened on Nov. 5, Floerke-Politsch said. Donations can be made at any First Hawaiian Bank. Jackson does not have health insurance.
Donation tables will be set up at the remaining UH football home games at Aloha Stadium, Floerke-Politsch said.
Also, all proceeds from the Advertiser newspaper lineup/Bowtime sales for the Nov. 23 UH-Cincinnati game at Aloha Stadium will be donated to the fund.
Murphy's Bar & Grill will host a fund-raiser on Nov. 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. UH football coach June Jones, his coaching staff, Vili the Warrior, Nick Rolovich and other former players are scheduled to attend the $50-per-person event.
In addition, a Web page that will list fund-raisers for Jackson is scheduled to be operational tomorrow under the listing: friendsofnatejackson.org.